Having Drew Brees and the number one passing offense in the NFL (316 yards per game) has been little help to none for the New Orleans Saints, falling to a 2-5 record as its defense had another terrible game on its way to becoming one of the worst, statistically, in the history of the NFL.
The Saints are 30th in pass defense, allowing 304.6 yards per game. They’re 31st in rush defense, allowing 170.1 per game. Their total of 474.7 yards per game allowed through the first eight weeks of the season is on pace to shatter the all-time yards allowed record which is 6793 yards by the 1981 Colts, and they’ll be doing it by more than 800 yards.
And the points they’re giving up; They haven’t allowed less than 27 points in any game this season. Drew Brees can have all the 300 yard games he wants, so far second among quarterbacks with 2310 yards and second in the league with 20 touchdown passes. His accuracy has fallen this season (below 60%) and also his passer rating (down to 93.0 so far) but he’s not the problem the Saints are losing. His 8 turnovers aren’t what’s been killing this team.
The defense has not been able to get the ball, with only 3 interceptions so far and five fumble recoveries. They can’t get to opposing quarterbacks, having only 13 sacks this season, which is among the worst in the NFL. Opposing QB’s average 317 yards against them with a 115 passer rating. Drew Brees, who hardly has a running game to count on (worst in the NFL), has to come out each game knowing he needs to throw at least 320 yards and at least 3-4 touchdown passes to even put the Saints in a chance to win.
There’s no doubt that bountygate picked this team apart, but the appearance of Brees made us forget or neglect the fact that this team lost their head coach and defensive coordinator. That this off-season has had a much bigger effect on the players, regardless of their involvement in the ordeal, than anyone thought. The Saints do have defensive players coming back, but it didn’t look any better against the Broncos, losing by more than 8 points for the first time this season.
Yes, despite their defensive problems, Brees has put them within a shot at winning each and every single game. It has worked out twice, but against a flawless Peyton Manning and a very good Denver Broncos defense, Brees wasn’t up to the challenge. There’s no one to pick up the slack on this team when he can’t deliver, not on offense or defense.